By Alfredo Alvarez
Miami– During the months of October and November of 1920, the greatest baseball icon in the history of baseball, George Herman “Babe” Ruth, the popular “Bambino”, the man who saved baseball after the 1919 World Series scandal, visited my country: Cuba.
As soon as the 1920 season was over, the Cuban promoter Abel Linares made a deal with the owners of the New York Giants team, playing in the National League and coached by the famous John McGraw, to celebrate a series of meetings with the Cuban clubs Habana and Almendares.
Also, according to the Puerto Rican Yuyo Ruiz, Linares personally managed to convince the Babe to play with the Giants, paying him $ 2,000 for each of the ten games played, which also included all the expenses by him, his wife and his agent named Igor. The total will be 20,000 dollars (for these time it was a huge sum of money)
The games were played in the “Almendares Park” in Havana City and after the publicity offered by the capital newspapers the tickets were sold out in a matter of hours.
On October 30, Ruth lined up with the Giants in center field and went 2 for 3, including a triple and a double, with 2 RBIs. That game was against Havana Baseball Club and ended 4×3 in favor of the visitors in a great duel between Perry and the Cuban pitchers Oscar Tuero and José Acosta.
31 October. This day Ruth faced the Cuban pitcher Emilio Palmero, pitching for Almendares Baseball Club, The Babe went 2 for 4, although he struck out once. New York won again 3×0
November 3. Babe Ruth was hitless facing Acosta and Tuero from the Habana Team. Giants won this game by final score 7 to 1.
November 4th. In a close matchup New York took the victory 10 to 8, with fourteen hits connected by each team, Ruth finished 2 for 3.
November 6th. Ruth played first base and pitched in relief, he was again hitless (0 for 3), and the famous Almendares team beat the Giants 11-4, with Isidro Fabré on the mound. This game headline wasn’t the Babe performance. It was the Cuban slugger Cristóbal Torriente, who hit 3 homers.
November 7. The Giants won 8 x 7 and Ruth got 2 hits in 3 at bats.
November 8th. Almendares won 6 to 5. Palmero won and Kelly lost. The “Bambino”, finished 1 for 4.
12th of November. This game finished a tied (3-3), Ruth was hitless in 4 at bats.
November 14th. New York won 7 – 3 and Ruth said goodbye to Havana with a hit in 2 plates appearances.
Everything seems to indicate that the money received from Abel Linares and something else that Ruth brought, was all wasted by the Babe between the horse races at the Oriental Park racecourse and the Jai Alai, for which he accepted to play two more games in the city of Santiago de Cuba for the amount of $3000, offered by Mr. Juan Lageyre.
The first game was played on November 20, in the grounds of the “Cuba Park”, which Santiago end up winning 4×0 with a great pitching performance by Pablo Guillén, who also struck out the “Bambino” once but Ruth will retaliated by connecting a double to the Cuban pitcher in 6th inning.
On the 21st, according to the press at that time, this was not an official game but an exhibition of which there is no individual information, only that Santiago won again, this time for a final score of 5 to 1.
The Babe returned to Havana, where he stayed until the 28th, date on which he went to Key West. Before his departure, and being invited by McGraw, he returned to the capital to keep spent all the money left in his wallet by gambling on the horse races.
Data taken from: Heraldo de Cuba, 1920, Visit of the Bambino to Cuba, by the historian Yuyo Ruiz.
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